Resources for discussing racism with kids

Illustration from Amazing Grace (1990) by Mary Hoffman.

Discussing racism and inequality can be a distressing moment between parents, care-givers or teachers and the children they love. Thankfully, there are a number of helpful materials and resources that can help you to explain discrimination at the same time as giving kids a sense of self-worth and confidence to stand up to themselves. Below are a few suggestions of books for children as well as advice materials for adults!

Picture books for young children:

Picture Books (2+)
• I love my hair – Natasha Anastasia
• Dancing in the wings – Debbie Allen

Picture Books (3+)
• Chocolate Me – Taye Diggs
• The Colors of Us – Karen Katz
• All the colors we are: The story of how we got our skin color – Katie Kissinger
• The skin you live in – Michael Tyler

Picture Books (4+)
• Amazing Grace – Mary Hoffman
• Skin Again – bell hooks
• The Other side – Jacqueline Woodson

Picture Books (5+)
• Hope – Isabell Monk
• Muskrat will be swimming – Cheryl Savageau

Picture Books (6+)
• The Soccer Fence: A Story of Friendship, Hope and Apartheid in South Africa – Phil Bidner
• Grandpa, is everything black bad? – Sandy Lynne Holman
• Let’s talk about race – Julius Lester
• Goin’ someplace special – Patricia C. McKissack
• Busing Brewster – Richard Michelson
• Mr. Lincoln’s Way – Patricia Polacco
• Desmond and the very mean word – Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams

More Picture Books!
• Shades of Black: A celebration of our children – Sandra L. Pinkney
• The Sneetches and other stories – Dr. Seuss
• Yoko – Rosemary Wells
• White Water – Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein
• Buddha at Bedtime – Dharmachari Nagaraja
• If a bus could talk – Faith Ringgold
• The people could fly: American Black Folktales – Virginia Hamilton
• Sunne’s Gift: How she overcame bullying to reclaim God’s gift – Ama Karikari Yawson
• Roll of thunder hear my cry – Mildred Taylor
• Let the circle be unbroken – Mildred Taylor
• Maggie Sinclair will you please fix your hair?! – Hilary Grant Dixon
• We Got Issues! A Young Woman’s Guide to a Bold, Courageous and Empowered Life – Edited by Rha Goddess and JLove Calderon
• The fat black woman’s poems – Grace Nichols
• The People Shall Continue – Simon Ortiz
• Muskrat Will Be Swimming – Cheryl Savageau
• First Americans – series of books by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve
• Indian Shoes – Cynthia Leitich Smith

Resources for adults:

– 50 Best culturally diverse children’s books (web article)
– Book list by Creative with Kids (website)
– Book list by Friends School of Portland (digital document)
– Combating Racial Discrimination by Ena Appelt and Monika Jarosch (book)
– Dutch Racism by Philomena Essed and Isabel Hoving (book)
– Emancipatie en diversiteit in kinderboeken by Spinzi (website)
– Institute of Race Relations News (website)
– Learning Resource Centre by ERIF (website)
– Media Diversified (website)
– Resources for teachers by Indian Country Today Media Network (website)
– Stereotypen in kinderboeken by Buku Books (website)
– We are all the same inside (website)
– We Need Diverse Books (website)



Must read articles for parents and teachers

"Show me ACCEPTANCE!" workshop

“Show me ACCEPTANCE!” workshop

In November, ERIF hosted its first Parent Teacher symposium in Amsterdam. The interactive day (in collaboration with the Teatro Munganga, the creators of Bino & Fino, actress and educator Anni Domingo as well as activist and educator G. Holwerda) was a great success and we look forward to organising and hosting a similar event in the not too distant future. To compliment the day, we prepared an exclusive resource pack especially for attendees, but we would like everyone to be able to benefit from these valuables tools and information points. Therefore, over the coming weeks and months we will post selected materials from each of the chapters  that feature in the pack. We will also be mindful to add new and useful tools to ensure the material being posted isn’t dated or irrelevant.

If you have suggestions for additional resources, feel free to share! For now, below you can find a list we put together for the pack, of insightful and informative articles dealing with racist imagery that is targeted at children. These articles offer some advice that could be useful for both parents and teachers. Look out for more resources coming soon!

How to Argue Against Racist Mascots


To check in with our North American comrades, we’re sharing some counter-arguments that may come in handy the next time you’re at a music festival or fancy dress party and see someone in a head-dress and face-paint.

As part of the on-going campaigns against US sports teams using the image of Native Americans as their mascots, such as the Washington Redskins, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians, Taté Walker has produced a comprehensive list of responses to idiotic justifications such as “This mascot honors Natives” or “You’re being too sensitive.” The use of indigenous peoples in this insensitive and capitalist manner can (unfortunately) also be found within the fashion and music industries, although the campaign against it has been gaining more and more ground in the last few years. The full list of counter-arguments can be found on the Everyday Feminism website.

For similar counter arguments for more general forms of racist imagery, check out ERIF’s FAQs on Racist Imagery here.